In the near future, civilians can also take a ride to the edge of the space and view the magnificent outer world. World View, a private company is hoping to take tourists to the near-space by the end of 2016. Voyagers will experience the ride not with a rocket, but with a high-altitude balloon.
If the company's vision comes to reality, travelers need to pay $75,000 to board a balloon that will float about 30 kilometers above the ground. As travelers glide up, they can view the bright stars, the blackness of the outer space and the Earth suspended from the space - an experience that was limited to astronauts until now.
A luxurious and comfortable capsule is designed to carry six voyagers and two crew members, which will be lifted by the balloon up to a height of 100,000 feet, according to the World View website. The voyagers will be able to capture the breath taking sights of the world outside the Earth. The entire journey will take approximately five hours. The capsule is designed by Paragon Space Development Corp.
However, voyagers need not be undergoing any special training to enjoy this ride.
World view's concept of travelling without rockets and without feeling the weightlessness stands apart from the other space tourism ventures such as XCOR and Virgin Galactic, where both are offering short flight on rocket-powered space planes to an altitude of 62 miles and passengers will experience few minutes of weightlessness along with the spectacular view.
Voyagers can book their exciting space trip by depositing $5,000. Several passengers have already paid for the ride. Mark Kelly, retired astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander will lead the team as the Director of Flight Crew Operations.